The Iliad of Homer
Page: 132With prayers to move him, or with gifts to bend."
To whom the king. "With justice hast thou shown
A prince's faults, and I with reason own.
That happy man, whom Jove still honours most,
Is more than armies, and himself a host.
Bless'd in his love, this wondrous hero stands;
Heaven fights his war, and humbles all our bands.
Fain would my heart, which err'd through frantic rage,
The wrathful chief and angry gods assuage.
If gifts immense his mighty soul can bow,201
Hear, all ye Greeks, and witness what I vow.[pg 163]
Ten weighty talents of the purest gold,
And twice ten vases of refulgent mould:
Seven sacred tripods, whose unsullied frame
Yet knows no office, nor has felt the flame;
Twelve steeds unmatch'd in fleetness and in force,
And still victorious in the dusty course;
(Rich were the man whose ample stores exceed
The prizes purchased by their winged speed;)
Seven lovely captives of the Lesbian line,
Skill'd in each art, unmatch'd in form divine,
The same I chose for more than vulgar charms,
When Lesbos sank beneath the hero's arms:
All these, to buy his friendship, shall be paid,
And join'd with these the long-contested maid;
With all her charms, Briseis I resign,
And solemn swear those charms were never mine;
Untouch'd she stay'd, uninjured she removes,
Pure from my arms, and guiltless of my loves,202
These instant shall be his; and if the powers
Give to our arms proud Ilion's hostile towers,
Then shall he store (when Greece the spoil divides)
With gold and brass his loaded navy's sides:
Besides, full twenty nymphs of Trojan race
With copious love shall crown his warm embrace,
Such as himself will choose; who yield to none,
Or yield to Helen's heavenly charms alone.
Yet hear me further: when our wars are o'er,
If safe we land on Argos' fruitful shore,
There shall he live my son, our honours share,
And with Orestes' self divide my care.
Yet more—three daughters in my court are bred,
And each well worthy of a royal bed;
And bright Chrysothemis with golden hair;
Her let him choose whom most his eyes approve,
I ask no presents, no reward for love:
Myself will give the dower; so vast a store
As never father gave a child before.
Seven ample cities shall confess his sway,
Him Enope, and Pherae him obey,
Cardamyle with ample turrets crown'd,
And sacred Pedasus for vines renown'd;
Æpea fair, the pastures Hira yields,
And rich Antheia with her flowery fields:204[pg 164]
The whole extent to Pylos' sandy plain,
Along the verdant margin of the main
There heifers graze, and labouring oxen toil;
Bold are the men, and generous is the soil;
There shall he reign, with power and justice crown'd,
And rule the tributary realms around.
All this I give, his vengeance to control,
And sure all this may move his mighty soul.
Pluto, the grisly god, who never spares,
Who feels no mercy, and who hears no prayers,